Pursuing Partnership: Men & Women in Ministry
The Blessed Alliance – Week 1
By Wendy Wilson, Women’s Development Track – Exec Dir
Missio Nexus Mission Advisor – Development of Women
An Introduction to our Fall series on the Blessed Alliance . . .
Maybe I had become too accustomed to a telling of the Creation story of Gen 1-2. Sure, I know that one! But I’ll never forget when I took my first real deep dive into the texts of Genesis 1-2. Both for what IS there and what is NOT there. And suddenly the relationship of this narrative to the unfolding of the rest of God’s revelation became extraordinary anew to me, as it should be! Its impact deepened in my own personal identity and in my appreciation for the dignity of humanity world-wide – as well as in the tragic blow sin dealt to both. As I pursue this radical vision into redemption, I have become more hope-filled and awe-inspired at what our Creator set in motion to reflect Himself through what author Carolyn Custis James has termed the “Blessed Alliance.”
Much of what I do in my role as Mission Advisor for Development of Women with Missio Nexus member mission agencies and individuals, is interact about the contribution of women to the way we hope to fulfill the Great Commission. And it all launches from God’s design of this most basic of human relationships, male and female. No matter what demographic of humanity you may be most interested in or called to serve (ethnic, socio-economic, geographic, cultural, etc), all of them function from their most basic point – the male/female relationship. In society (and the church) more widely as colleagues and citizens (brothers and sisters), and in the family (as spouses and parents.) So what we understand, what we practice, what we teach, what we are becoming as Kingdom partners. . . matters enormously.
In our Pursuing Partnership series (https://missionexus.org/tag/pursuing-partnerships-series/) we have been spending most of our time exploring our North American experience of involving women in the way we carry out the Great Commission as disciples of Jesus. Not because women are more important, but because they have been missing in arenas where we are recognizing our need for their presence – especially envisioning, decision-making, strategizing, problem-solving. For the Blessed Alliance of male and female from Genesis 1-2 to carry out God’s vision for His world, men and women have to be partnering together more fully, less separately perhaps? To really see this alliance for what it was intended I think we need to explore the ways we have perhaps told women “Be less. Hold back” and we have told men “Be more. You’re not enough.” Both messages are exhausting as we try to be something we are not. We know God’s heart – in the world, the community, the church, the home – is for each one is to “Be yourself. Engage fully.” As men and women embrace the intentional design and calling of God for each other and with each other . . . Is there perhaps more we could be tapping into?
Over the next 12 weeks, we will enjoy a rich biblical exploration of what the vision of God’s Blessed Alliance of men and women might look like more fully. What do we learn about our Author’s beautiful handiwork from the Creation account, from the narratives of men and women of God, from Jesus Himself as he lived and spoke into human culture and tradition around him? It’s a vision for every human culture, in every time of history past, present, future. It’s an invitation to inspiration and transformation – starting next week!